Travel ‘shake-up’: Sydney Airport launches international eSIMS

We might take for granted having the world constantly at our fingertips in our day-to-day lives, but that can all change when it’s time to travel overseas.

Without mobile data, we risk taking a step back in time and having to ask strangers for directions in the dead of night, going out to eat without looking at the menu first, or – shock, horror – delay posting a stream of envy-inducing social media updates for our annoyed friends back home.

These scenarios can usually be avoided with the help of a local sim card or international data roaming package from your telco, and now there’s a new player in the game; Sydney Airport has launched its own travel eSIM.

You could organise your international mobile data plan in minutes. Photo: Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport’s ‘tripsim’, produced in partnership with eSIM Go, offers data bundles for more than 150 countries without the need to swap out a physical SIM card or change phone numbers.

Sign-up and installation is said to take just minutes, and data plans are available for passengers departing Australia for use across multiple countries.

For example, the European bundle covers 35 countries including the UK, and the Asia bundle works in 14 countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand.

Total tripsim bundle prices vary depending on the travel destinations and size of the data plan.

Mark Zaouk, executive general manager of commercial at Sydney Airport, said the airport hopes its travel eSIM offering will “shake up” the way Australians roam overseas.

“When you arrive home from an amazing overseas holiday and get slugged with an eye-watering roaming bill, it can quickly dull your post-holiday glow, especially for families travelling with multiple devices,” he said.

How does tripsim compare?

Tripsim is far from alone in the travel sim card space, although travel eSIMs are still emerging.

If you don’t want to bother wasting your first day overseas looking for a local sim card or pocket wi-fi devices and don’t want to risk exorbitant excess global roaming fees, travel SIMs are the way to go.

But if you’ve got an older phone model, beware; tripsim can only be used with late-model, carrier-unlocked devices, something which is typical of travel eSIMs.

Compatible models include Apple’s iPhone XS and later, and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and later. Some laptops from brands such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are also compatible.

When compared to established travel eSIMs and SIM cards, tripsim’s offerings are very competitive and offer more customisation for data caps.

But if you shop around, there’s a huge range of offers to choose from, and you might find a better option depending on your travel plans.

For example, Airalo’s ‘Eurolink’ eSIM plans cover 39 countries, with the largest offering 100GB valid for 180 days at a cost of $US185 ($276), while SimCorner offers a wide range of travel SIM cards, including an option for travel in the US that provides 30 days of unlimited data for $72.

Data roaming packages from Australian telcos, which can be added on to your existing mobile plan, tend to be more expensive for what they offer.

When making your decision, it would likely be helpful to find out how much data you normally use per month, and then factor in how much more you are likely to use while travelling.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found the average mobile consumer on a post-paid contract used only 11.8GB of data per month in 2020-21, compared to a median data allowance of 35GB per month.

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